As the story is told, on one sunny Sunday morning in May when I came into this world, my mother didn't see or hold me for several hours. In 1952, the common practice was to anesthetize the expectant mother so as to make the birthing process less traumatic. It took mom a while for the effects of the gas to wear off and remember why she was so sore. That's the commonly told story, however, my infantile memory seems to remember otherwise. After a 7 a.m. arrival and a few slaps to warm up, I seem to recall that I quickly stepped out to enter a local road race that morning, the results of which totally escape me, and didn't return to meet and greet mom and dad until after the awards ceremony. I hit the ground running when I came into this world and believe I've maintained my momentum well to this day.

Early stories of my walking at seven months, skipping the crawling stage, and then climbing the apple tree in the back yard before the age of two are probably spot on. Throughout my childhood (and for the sake of convention, let's say that ended by the age of 18) I ran whenever there was a need to get from any point A to some other point B. I don't recall ever walking up or down stairs. Taking a running start I'd hit the fourth or fifth stair coming up from our basement, taking three steps at a time, and would jump over those same bottom four or five steps whenever I went back down. That memory serves me well because I remember cracking my head countless times on the iron I-beam at the bottom of the stairs when I would launch a bit prematurely. I have wondered about the lasting effect of those minor concussions in the early years!

My wanderlust kept me outside most of the time if it wasn't dark. There was basketball or kickball or playing catch in the backyard, exploring the woods and the edge of suburbia around my home, riding bikes endless miles - back and forth - around my community; but mostly there was sandlot baseball which I played at every chance - double-headers everyday in the summer, it seemed. We'd pick up different teams for each game and play eighteen or more innings a day, Pitcher, outfielder, third base... it didn't matter. Pick up your bat, ride your bike to the large sloping apple orchard where we played, and pick teams. Play ball. I loved to hit the ball far and I loved to motor around the bases to reach home plate before my buddies could relay the ball back to tag me out. Playing the outfield was my favorite. Roberto Clemente of the Pirates was my hero. Running hard to catch fly balls and winging them back like my idol, as far and as accurately as possible to try to prevent the other team from scoring, play hard we did. I took pride in my arm and could really hit the ball a long way for a little guy, but mostly my reputation was built upon being able to really run fast. And I did, again and again, throughout my developmental years.

When I wasn't playing ball I spent time at a hunting cabin in the country that my parents built over many years. Growing up with free reign of the woods and fields, with not much more to do than just be a kid, was as good as it could get. My younger brother Don and I would hike miles to catch a pan of brook trout, sometimes more than eight miles in a day. If we didn't hike fast we might jog a bit to get somewhere even faster, of course, the word "jog" was still not a part of our lexicon. Dad would often join us, playing catch or hitting the ball or hiking, hunting and fishing. Once in awhile he would challenge us to a sprinting footrace from wherever we happened to be to however far he thought he could sprint. Having been a varsity basketball player in high school, he was wirey, strong and fast and would always best us in those sprints. The last time I ever challenged him, as a senior in high school, he came up short with a charley horse and we never raced each other again.

You couldn't play where I grew up without doing some sort of running, so early on I formed a very clear association between the idea of fun and running, and fun and effort. Of course, I didn't have time to sit down and think about such things then. As a boy scout at Camp Alliquippa north of Pittsburgh I remember lining up with all the other scouts to RUN A MILE for no other reason than to just run a mile. It was a bit intimidating, but I wouldn't have thought to question it. I never measured anywhere I ran, so the concept of running a measured distance struck me as a long way. As many of the other boys could swim a mile in the pool while I couldn't even float, the mile distance seemed to be a long way in my brain. I filed in behind the rest of the boys and covered the distance without much difficulty.


It wasn't until the summer of 1968, between my sophomore and junior years in high school, that one of my buddies - J.D. Finney - told me that the high school was starting a new sport called cross country and that he thought I should try out for it as I was a pretty good runner. He wasn't going to try out, but thought that I should. Mom and dad seemed alright with it, but I was shy and to step out like that and be noticed off the ballfield or off my bike was uncomfortable. When school started I joined the new team. Coach Paul Marraccini had run in college and had a lot of passion for cross country running, so seemed to know what he was doing and motivated us to enjoy the sport and the camaraderie. Mr. Marraccini was young and had only taught school for a couple of years, so he was pretty enthusiatic about making something of this new sport at our school.

It was fun running with the other guys up and down the hills, through the briars and woods, just an organized extension of the way I grew up. The tomfoolery at practice alone made the time spent worth it. Being a junior in high school I didn't figure to be on the varsity team since I had formal running experience, so I ran junior varsity for the first few meets. When I easily won several of the JV races, Coach moved me up to varsity to run with the faster fellows. I learned a lot by running with guys that could run faster and grew to love competition quickly. The school provided running shoes and "spikes" for racing as well as uniforms and sweats. The spikes left my feet bloody and raw and the red running flats weren't much on support, but we were young and would have run in bare feet had we been told to do so. The reward of those days as well as the early lessons in suffering and pain stick with me to this day. While I was victorious a few times for the junior varisty in the fall of 1968, our team mostly lost its meets with other schools. I don't recall distinguishing myself as a runner other than to earn a letter in the sport in the first year of cross country at our school. But I would never be the same after this experience. My outlook had changed. My inlook had changed.

It seemed an obvious sequitur to go out for track the following spring. Track was a different sport than cross country; the guys were not the same and the competition seemed more cut-throat. Winning was the prime emphasis over the sheer joy of team play that I experienced while running cross country. Track merged speed with strategy over a repetitive course and it sharpened my desire to win. I fell into running the mile and half mile and one- and two-mile relays. I must have held my own at the meets because I earned a track letter and a nice letterman's jacket that gave a kid about to enter his senior year certain bragging rights at school.

In the summer before my senior year I worked some at construction and restaurant work, but had enough time to run on my own in anticipation of the fall cross country season. I was driving now so could head over to the regional park where meets were held on our home course and hone my skills on known terrain. Mom would often accompany me to the park as my biggest fan, and soon my younger brother Don began to take an interest in all the attention I gave to running. By the time school started and the second year team assembled to begin training, I was fit and ready to run hard and fast as a returning senior varsity member. Brother Don joined me to earn his wings on the junior vasity squad.

The first meet was at home against a tough opponent that had "wiped us out" the previous year, the score having been15-40, which meant that at least the other team's first five runners crossed the finish line before even our first runner. Toeing the line for that first meet that year, naive as I was, I could not have anticipated the impact of that race and its result on the rest of my life. The adage of working hard and giving 100% paid off. I was fit enough to dominate the race and easily cross the finish line first without looking back, much to the home team's surprise and delight. It took awhile before I fully gauged the impact of the moment. To win against tough competition was fulfilling, even if the season was early and no one else was peaked yet. Our team was victorious against a team that wiped us out the year before. It bode well for the season ahead.

Two days later we again stood at the start line against an even tougher team that had also wiped us out the previous year. My victory had not gone to my head, so I again approached the race with humility, yet with expectation of doing well. This event was to be far more competitive. Three opposing team members stayed with me through much of the first half of our extremely tough 2.3 mile home course. On the back side of the course, out of view of coaches and spectators, one of my competitors, a fast kid named Chris Takagi, purposefully launched me off the course with a push into the briars. Having a bit of a short fuse as well as a sense of fairness I returned to his side minutes later and sharply elbowed him right into the blackberry briars, after which I never heard his footsteps again. Having learned about flying elbows in track and getting spiked more than a few times, I quickly learned that sport can be more aggressive than I had would have imagined. After my quick adaptation and without any afterthought for my own actions, I put on a surge down the steepest hill of the course, losing my balanace and tumbling a full 360 degrees before coming back up on my feet, and gained a distance on the other two competitors. I sped up the next climb, which was even steeper than the previous descent, passed the coaches, other teammates, and spectators at the start line, continued a half mile on and finished in first well ahead of the rest - a hard-fought victory with a time of 14:41, faster than two days before. While it wasn't a completely clean race it certainly was in keeping with the unspoken bump and shove rules of engagement of cross country and no protest was mentioned. I never had to use that strategy again, but carry no regret for using it that day.

I earned my second letter in both sports in my senior year and won my share of events. Looking back through the clouded memories of glory and sacrifice, I do recall that I never broke a five- minute mile or a two-minute half mile in high school track, but did manage a 52-second quarter mile during a district championship in the mile relay. I was growing with the experience and liked the feel of winning.

Recreational running continued into my freshman year at college. While we had a small squad and I was subjugated to being the number two man on the varsity cross country team, I was never outstanding at the university level other than to win intramural competitions my freshman and sophomore years. The lure of racing waned because the comeraderie I'd come to enjoy and the thrill of victory were no longer there. My fondest running memory from college was traveling to Franklin Field in Philadelphia to witness the classic matchup between Jim Ryun and Marty Liquori in what was slated "the Dream Mile". From the third turn I watched Liquori battle Ryun to finish first in the most amazing track performance I had ever seen. Two weeks later, after watching a rebroadcast of the event on black-and-white TV I became so energized that I immediately went out to the college track and, after a few 100-yard accelerations, ran my first sub-five-minute mile in a time of 4:35. Never had I been as motivated to run fast. While I subsequently lowered my best mile time to 4:17 after reaching the age of thirty-two, the achievement paled in comparison to the juice I felt when I first broke five minutes.

Maybe it was a certain impatience with life, but I needed to move on and so went from being a hippie protesting the war in the streets of Morgantown, West Virginia, to enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1972. My dad was a Marine for three years in the south Pacific against the Japanese and my pride in him led me to enter service during the time of Viet Nam. Basic Marine training was thirteen weeks of vigorous reengineering of mind and body. I had talked my way into going to MCRD in San Diego for basic training to avoid the sand fleas at Parris Island. In large part the experience during basic training was an adventure for me. Whether standing on the parade deck at attention or marching drills for hours or grinding my exhausted butt into the dirt under lovely palm trees, with the ever fresh smell of the ocean and not-so-fresh odor of diesel fuel from Lindburg Field, and the ever present gulls, squawking and circling overhead, I derived a lot of satisfaction from my time there. Make no mistake, it was physically tough and emotionally challenging, but I had one advantage - Marine training consists of a lot of running and I could run faster than anybody else - in combat boots or basketball hightops - it didn't matter. When I was running ahead of everyone else I might well have been one of the gulls soaring free in its element.

I was once asked by my platoon commander, one hell of a man by the name of SSgt Radabaugh, if I liked running. Of course I responded "sir, yes sir". This being after I had completed a round trip of humping an intense vertical climb in the San Onofre hills minutes ahead of the next recruit behind me. When all finished exhausted Radabaugh sent us up again. One round trip was enough to incapacitate most of the other recruits. Two journeys up that hill and they must have been thinking about going AWOL to avoid further punishment. The second trip was no worse than the first and allowed me more than enough time to catch my breath before I was joined in formation by my heaving companions, while under the curious eye of my commander.

Running in full military garb with rifle, cartridge belt, helmut and canteen in 90 degrees was something I found enjoyably challenging, even though I once had to regretably hurdle one of my fellow recruits who collapsed and died under the effort. Going 17 miles in full gear, running and marching, was the only time I've ever seen anyone completely driven into the ground. The human capacity, even among the most average among us, is more far-reaching than most might imagine. It was an important lesson. Sleeping in quonset huts or in foxholes and running every day in the desert hills was like a holiday for me - a camping trip with some serious micromanagement.

I never lost a running race in basic training, or for that matter, during the entire two years I served in the Corps. My drill instructors would place sizable side bets with the DI's of competing platoons in our series that I could best any of their recruits in the regular foot races we held. They would tell me that there was money riding on my effort and remind me that I would win, or else. There were several Native American fellows that had run previously and would always give chase. The best of these was a fellow named Private Fasthorse. Because he was never able to outrun me I developed a reputation for being able to outrun any damn fast horse. I'm sure my DI's enjoyed quite a few drinks at the expense of their rowdy cohorts on my account, but I never did have to learn what "or else" meant. I ended basic training by being awarded the Commanding General's Trophy for maxing the PFT with more than a perfect 300 score and being filmed for inclusion in a Marine Corps documentary called It Takes A Few Good Men. While I always ran fast enough to win I never broke 17 minutes by very much for the standard three-mile run in combat boots, but I was able to do 92 situps in two minutes and 42 Marine Corps pullups. The CG's Trophy still adorns my office as the most coveted award I have ever received.

By the time I left the regular Corps I had run and won quite a few PFT's, but more importantly I had embraced a new recreational pastime of running right-of-ways and roads around the air station at Cherry Point, NC, or along the beach and dunes at Emerald Isle. Neither fitness nor racing was my objective; it was always pure play. I would run out to the end of the runways at night to watch aircraft flare right above me on their glide paths, or watch young Harrier pilots practice their wobbly landings only a matter of feet away. I'd often be close enough to feel the exhaust of their after-burners. Water mocassins would open wide their mouths as I passed on trails along the thorough-fares and pygmy rattlers warming themselves on the base roads at night occasionally caused me to completely miss a step without losing momentum. I don't recall anyone running with me generally, but I nonetheless developed a real passion for going out and covering ground on my own.

The Marine Corps experience was a good time to tests other physical activities, as I had relatively a lot of extra time, energy, and extra spending money. I spent a lot of time riding my ten-speed Schwinn bicycle with my buddy Curt Howard between the base and the beach on weekends. Some weekends we'd ride nearly two hundred miles between the two days as we lived la dolce vita. I rode so much that I had to nurse a condition of chondromalacia in one knee for a time. That put a cramp in my running for a month, but didn't slow me much. We spent as much time at the beach at Emerald Isle as we could, checking out the girls, the dunes, practicing archery in the sand, and body surfing in the waves

My buddy Pete Fronsee, who I keep in touch with to this day, and I bought backpacks and the necessary gear to explore the sport of hiking and camping. We'd spent time in Croatan National Forest inland from the coast of North Carolina both summer and winter, watching out for the deadly coral snake and looking for adventure. I even went over to the Great Smoky Mountains and hiked solo on the Appalachian Trail for a few days. These would be the first of thousands of miles I would spend on hiking trails across the continent in the many years that have followed.

I never lost a race of any sort for over four years before January of 1975. Back in college to earn the expected sheep skin I hung out with a few guys that ran track and would leave their stinky shoes outside their doors as some sort of territorial mark of their commitment to the sport. I lived with my brother Don who had participated in cross country and track for three years in high school and who continued to accompany me on jaunts on the road au pied or by ten-speed. He introduced me to others who were running recreationally or who ran organized track or cross country and some that started running because we obviously had such a good time doing it. A loose sort of attachment to running without aim seemed to enchant several of us.

Someone drew attention to an upcoming MARATHON at State College in the Nittany Valley. No one knew anything about running marathons, nor had anyone ever run or heard of a race on the roads before. It was a time when there weren't many known organized road races or at least any that had come to our collective attention. Over a couple beers my main running partner, Jeff Alexander, and I decided to send in the ten dollars and sign up to run this marathon in the cold of February of 1975. It wasn't so much wild and crazy as it was something new, something adventurous. Among runners we still talked about Frank Shorter's benchmark victory in the Olympic marathon in Munich in 1972. Frank was still on a pedestal in the sporting world and inspiring to every runner, to say the least; I still keep an original copy of Life magazine with Franks' Olympic finish on the cover. So Jeff and I were committed to doing a marathon and had little vision as to what it would be like or where it would lead.

All we knew about racing is that it is performed in running shorts, wearing a singlet. While the temperatures varied around the freezing mark, the winds whipping across the Nittany Valley would make it a bit more crisp. Race Director Harry Groves, the track coach at Penn State, used a starter's gun to set the small field of mostly naive adventurers off on their maiden road racing voyage. Without strategy or concept of the effort or time that would be required we embarked as a shivering mass of pioneers to make tracks in the fresh blowing snow. Beyond fifteen miles everything was new, and so many new discoveries were made that day. The as-yet unnamed concept of "the wall", that physiologic barrier so familiar to every marathoner at around the twenty-mile mark, was met and surpassed in agony. While the memory of what it felt like has long since blurred, the feeling of completion remains as vivid today as then. As with the first and so with every subsequent marathon, somewhere around 23 or 24 miles the little voice inside swore never to do this again.

The pain was unlike anything ever experienced. Even the brutal Marine Corps' drills paled by comparison. I finished in tenth place overall in a time just over three hours and was relieved to lose my first running race in over four years. My buddy Jeff finished not far behind in much the same condition of shock, hypothermia, and exhaustion. Any competitive pressure I may have felt in racing before now was forever gone. This was not competition, but an effort that went far beyond winning and losing. You went the distance and received the full measure of accomplishment through your effort.

Talk abounded among finishers after the race on having met the qualifying time to enter the Boston Marathon to be run in two months. There were congratulations all around. This was something Jeff and I had never entertained, but since it seemed so coveted and since we both earned a qualifying time to enter, the Boston Marathon was all we talked about on the trip home, interrupted finally by the new reality that neither of us could walk when we finally got out of the car back at college. It took a week of walking up stairs backwards and hobbling to and from class before either of us would even consider running again. But run we did, after the soreness subsided and memories of all but the glory faded.

Applying what we learned from our first marathon, we prepared for the third Monday in April for the annual Patriot's Day jaunt from Hopkinton to the Pru in Boston. At twenty-two years of age each of us would format our futures by toeing the line at Jock Semple's assemblage of 2500 of the best marathoners in the world. This was our finest day.

After driving half the night through to Boston we finally arrived at Hopkinton at dark early in the morning. With sleeping bag in hand each of us found a picnic table at the elementary school there and tried to manage what sleep we could before rising early to check in for the race in the school auditorium. Our plan was to check in early so that we could stake our claim at the starting line ahead of most of the other participants. In that day there was no "free" t-shirt or amenities, as there also hadn't been at Nittany Valley, so check in was quick and we arrived at the starting line early to stand at the rope between the seeded runners and the rest of the field. And hold that position we did, through all the morning hours until the start at noon. Runners gradually filled in the ranks and by nine a.m. there was not much room to stretch, let alone move. The first-come, first-in-line modus worked well enough until one had to pee, or worse. Then it was a matter of squirming through the tightly packed, sweaty anticipants to find a bush in someone's yard to relieve oneself. Most of the locals seemed to be enjoying the annual rite, all the while overlooking the necessary defilement of their shrubery. In those days there was only the high school restrooms or the bushes for everyone running the Boston Marathon, with port-a-toilets to come along much much later. No one had water because all were trying hard not to hydrate to the point of having to pee. I imagine we were all severely dehydrated and leg-tired by the time we started.

Wiggling back through the mass of spectators and participants to find one's saved place in line brought one uncomfortably close to many sweaty bodies rubbed with atomic balm and the like. Under the heat of the sun, as the starting hour approached, the seeded runners began to arrive and go through their nervous ritualistic loosening exercises and quick accelerations away from the start line. Not knowing who was who from the mostly US/Canadian/European seeded runners, we held our place in line and watched in focused curiosity.

The race was off to a quick start out of Hopkinton with a quick right turn sloping down toward the sea through budding trees and enthusiastic onlookers. While adrenaline levels were at an all-time high so was the tolerance of my bladder, so I made a break within the first mile for the first stand of trees on the course to the right to relieve myself amid the cheering crowds with at least a modicum of dignity behind a slender tree. By the time I broke from the woods to reenter my epic journey there were eight other guys and one squatting lady annointing that patch of nature.

The first ten miles are a gradual downhill that is fast and furious, which a first-timer is not likely to put into proper perspective until the Newton Hills give one a reality check. Heartbreak Hill seemed overrated compared to our Pennsylvania hills, but the throngs of spectators at Heartbreak made climbing it an ennervating experience. Rolling beyond and down into the city was less exhausting than the final miles of the Penn State marathon. Whether it was because we were better prepared or because the wind and weather were more favorable or because of the beer I was offered in the final few miles or because of the power of the crowd's energy and cheering girls at Wellesley College, the balance of the race went smoothly with a 2:51 finish just ahead of Kathryn Switzer, who was later to become a prominent women's figure in the sport. Boston Billy Rogers was victorious in the first of his four victories there and thus began his legend.

While the entire experience seemed olympic compared to anything else I'd ever been a part of, it was the triage atmosphere of the parking garage at the Prudential building where athletes could recover that still entertains my memory most vividly. To witness the mix of emotion in so many of the day's survivors between the accomplishment of the race and the accompanying pain and suffering is still something that renders me humbled to this day. In the estimate of a detached observer such carnage might have seemed foolhardy or even tragic. But to the ones who achieved that day, the gains made far exceeded the sacrifices to achieve them. Would we race again? Absolutely. I would return to Boston each of the subsequent two years in unseasonably warm weather to finish under the duress of heat exhaustion, but would not again have the same penultimate experience as my first Boston.

The marathon captured my imagination after running Boston for the second time. My second year of marathoning saw me complete seven marathons, each within driving distance of my home. Most notable in my memories of racing in 1976 was shaking the hand of Jesse Owens in Cleveland at the awards ceremony. The event was started by decathlete Bruce Jenner; I also had the pleasure of running a long while with a very conversational previous Boston winner, the diminutive Miki Gorman. I have said many times that there are few other sports where you can toe the starting line with your heroes and meet them on the field of sport as equals. Also in that year, running across the Peace River Bridge from Buffalo, New York, to Niagara Falls to finish at the Skylon Tower on the Canadian side was a thrill with a grand international flavor. A friend I had raced head-to-head with many times in high school track, Marty Sudzina, won the day. While marathoning was still a fairly new endeavor, my cheering squad of mom and dad would continue to travel with me to these events to provide support and share in the glory. Even my brother Don learned what it meant to go the distance three times that year. Marathoning drew the family closer together.

Since my departure from active duty in the Marine Corps a couple years previously my passion for running was growing, but not at the expense of my passion for spending time in the backcountry and living out of a pack. My brother Don and I backpacked western Pennsylvania's 120-mile Baker Trail in 1974 in a week. It was Don's introduction to backpacking and a week that moved us both in a direction we would never retrace. During our college spring break week in March 1975, Jeff Alexander and I hitch-hiked from Clarion to Shenandoah National Park to hike the length of the Appalachian Trail from north to south before hitching home again to be back to classes. While we froze our behinds at night we were young and reckless and believed we were bound to live forever at that point. The following spring saw us hitch to the Great Smoky Mountains and again hike the length of the AT in the park from north to south. We faced down death on one frozen night on a ridge on the NC/Tennessee border that still gives me profound respect for hypothermia. Brother Don joined us in 1977 as we drove to Shenandoah National Park for a repeat of our previous adventure. After a few hundred miles of humping the Appalachians with sixty pound packs and 20-30 mile days we were inventing the concept of cross-training, though we had no clue at the time. It was all pure play and youthful adventure and would set the tone for a lifetime pursuit of physical challenge.

For three weeks each summer of 1975 and 1976 I would take my Kelty pack, sleeping bag, and guitar on the road in my yellow hippie van and head west with my high school compadre Steve Warren. In those two years we hiked and climbed in Banff, Glacier, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Rocky Mountain, and Grand Canyon National Parks as well as many places in between. More hundreds of miles and smiles and stories to tell, picking up lots of hitch hikers, climbing mountains, facing off a grizzly bear, and living the lengendary hippie life. But I'll save that for another time. 1976 also included a week-long canoe trip to Maine with four buddies from graduate school. But again, that story must wait.

Departing from the marathon theme in 1977 after completing Boston for the third time I shifted my interest to competing in some of the shorter, faster events in and around western Pennsylvania. Subscribing to Runner's World, the world of running opened up to include a much broader experience. Considering my speed as a stronger personal quality than my patience in running long, I wanted to run with the best in the sport, so entered events that attracted the likes of Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers, two of my heroes at the time. Races included the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Classic in D.C., the Wheeling Distance Race, Youngstown Peace Race, RRCA 30 km Championship in Pittsburgh, and a couple half marathons - all firsts for me at each distance. During the year I had the opportunity to meet and speak with Shorter and Rodgers on a couple occasions, as well as meet countless Olympians from nations around the globe. It was beyond inspiring to line up at the start with the greatest names in the sport and race with them shoulder to shoulder. I could perhaps never measure up to their standard of ability, but was never too far behind at the finish. Nonetheless, it totally entrenched me in a passion for road racing.

The year 1977 was also my introduction to what would be come to be known as ultra running. I caught a ride to Colorado with my uncle and aunt. After two weeks of backpacking in the San Juans and doing some eco-research I joined my perennial pal Jeff to train for and run the Pikes Peak Marathon. We camped along the Barr Trail on the mountain for the week prior, then engaged in our most difficult challenge to date, taking 5 hours to ascend 7700 feet to the summit of Pikes at 14,110 feet and back down again to finish at Manitou. It was at Pikes that Jeff and I were privileged to meet and carry on a bit with the legendary Walter Stack. Lots of personality to this race then. Many rowdy characters colored our time there. The race chewed us up but didn't spit us out. The day following, after a night in a motel (imagine that?) and lots of ice cream, Jeff and I hitched back from Colorado to Pennsylvania in record time, with some harrowing, note-worthy experiences in between.

At the end of 1977, wanderlust was again the driving impetus in my life with applications for both the Peace Corps and Marine Corps Officer Candidate School on the table. Accepted to both, I decided to decline invitations to go to either El Salvador and Congo Kinshasa and accept an invitation to pursue training as a Marine officer at Quantico, Virginia, beginning in 1978. In retrospect, both El Salvador and the Congo erupted into civil violence within the year. Had I chosen to follow the Peace Corps course I undoubtedly would have been cast into a theater of strife that I hadn't bargained for. So my immediate attention shifted back to the USMC to test that possibility against my future.



and I'm stickin' to it